Matt Adams asks Golf Channel insiders Tim Rosaforte and Jaime Diaz who they would take in 2019, Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson.
From an audience of 33 million listeners on SiriusXM, the award-winning broadcaster and New York Timesbest-selling author is entering a realm where the reach of multiple platforms for golf’s largest independent digital talk radio show has the potential to extend to over two-and-a-half billion consumers worldwide.
Daunting in prospect but this is where Adams’ business and distribution sights have been set for quite some time now. When Dominic Scarano, Fairways of Life producer, flips the ‘On Air’ switch Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. EST the culmination of months of work and preparation without any sort of blueprint to go from will be realized.
“The scale of what we’re doing has taken a very long time to build,” Adams said in a phone interview Tuesday morning shortly after announcing his intentions for Fairways of Life. “It’s like any other business venture where you go into it with the best of intent but once you get mired in the details of what it’s going to be or what you hope it will be you realize how complicated it is. To get this done has been quite a process.”
Receiving the necessary platform approvals to get this business plan across the finish line should be considered a coup. While FairwaysofLife.com and theFairways of LifeApp will serve as internal distribution drivers, the Monday-Friday show will also have global accessibility through iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Twitter, Facebook, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa. Google Play alone represents 1 billion potential consumers.
“Once we were ready to try and get the approvals from these massive global platforms, and frankly we didn’t know if we could or not, but once it started to happen it was one, after another, after another, until we had all of them we were targeting,” Adams explained.
Support from longtime advertisers and marketing partners was pretty much across the board. Being able to garner ad programs already in line with what Adams was charging, but with the prospects for another 2 billion plus potential consumers, seems like the proverbial no-brainer for those companies, many of whom must have felt like Christmas had come early with Adams posing as Santa Claus.
As it relates to worldwide expansion, if FoL maintains the level of success it has enjoyed since Adams founded the show in 2007 the global numbers and return on investment for business partners could be huge.
“All of them (advertisers-marketing partners) kind of chuckled and said, sure, let’s give it a try,” he said. “I think they viewed it as no risk because what they were spending wasn’t enough to cause them great concern and from my standpoint I just needed enough of them to make sure I had everything funded. My objective was to ensure the funding would stretch out for at least a year to give us the time we needed to get our sea legs.”
Since Adams owns the FoL brand and its complete library of content he will have a great deal of flexibility in negotiating deals with current and future advertisers. One thing Adams made clear: he does not diminish what that support has meant as he boldly takes FoL to another level of global profile.
“The bottom line is any new business that comes into existence has to make sure it has the underpinning of financing in order to afford to do what it’s doing and wants to do,” he said. “That was a conscious part of building this.”
With all of that said there still remains an element of risk Adams assumes in taking FoL global. With the show’s target demographic generally being older there was concern that the various distribution platforms could be considered complicated for individuals who might not understand how, or even where, to access apps through the digital tier.
Adams believes that risk still exists to some degree.
“We’re absolutely making a massive assumption that the golf demographic is ready for new systems of distribution,” he said. “If you go to younger generations, my kids’ ages and a bit older, they’re already consuming their audio, whether its music or podcasts or news shows, through these various digital means. We didn’t know if the golf demographic was ready for it.”
Evidence, at least initially, seems to indicate it is. Adams has heard from all the commissioners or chief executives of golf’s major governing bodies, each one expressing excitement and enthusiasm for taking a daily golf talk show and moving it to a global platform. Though early in the process, golfers worldwide are jumping on the bus.
“We’re getting engagement from tens of thousands of people since the news broke a little while ago,” he said. “That engagement comes from signing up on the website, downloading apps and what’s really interesting, which has been our hope from the start, the contact we’re getting is coming from all over the globe. The fact we knowingly structured it as a free entertainment service was very important to us.”
What has Adams excited professionally is the freedom he will have withFairways of Lifeprogramming each day. Without the limitations of dictated commercial and news breaks and a specific broadcast window he’s excited about the possibilities for listeners.
“If an interview is going great and we feel like staying on we are in an endless space, this absolute ether of room, and we’ll just keep going if we feel like it. There are no limits.”
Having become a fixture onGolf Channelalong with the broadcast work he does for the European Tour it’s a fair question to ask why Adams even needs his FoL show at this point of his career. Knowing him for the best part of 25 years I wasn’t surprised by his response.
“It’s what I’ve always done. FoL blends so well with what I do withGolf Channeland I think this is going to free me up to do more, especially Morning Drive, because of the time we’re on and the flexibility we’ll have in doing the program,” he said. “But you know I love the intimacy of radio. I love the friendship of it and I love the conversation that it is. Golf on a global basis is the eighth largest sport in the world. On a global basis it’s bigger than the NFL. I have no doubt that by having FoL available globally, and for free, we’re going to tap into the hearts and minds of people who share our common passion.”
Award winning broadcaster takes show worldwide beginning November 7 at 8:00 a.m. EST.
Orlando, FL— After over a decade on SiriusXM Radio, Matt Adams, the award-winning broadcaster, writer, New York Times best-selling author and Golf Channel commentator, is taking his nationally acclaimed golf radio show, Fairways of Life global.
Adams and Fairways of Life announced today that the largest independent digital show in golf talk radio history will be available for free across the U.S. and worldwide beginning this week on November 7, at 8amEST.
Adams, who has been the host of the program since its inception in 2007, remains as enthusiastic as ever.
“We are so excited to be able to provide in-depth golf radio content to all of the USA and around the world on air, online and on demand for free,” Adams said. “It makes it so simple now to find the Fairways of Life Show on whatever device consumers use to listen, whether it be live or on-demand, through every major digital audio platform.”
Fairways of Life with Matt Adams will be live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on FairwaysofLife.com and the Fairways of Life App (available in both iOS and Android). Click on the link below to download the App.
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
In addition, Fairways of Life with Matt Adams can be heard on iHeart Radio (90 million), TuneIn Radio (60 million) and on-demand worldwide 24/7 on every major audio digital platform reaching billions of consumers including; iTunes (800 million), Spotify (170 million), Stitcher, Google Play (1 billion), Twitter (330 million) and Facebook (1.86 billion) as well as, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa.
Fairways of Life’s unprecedented worldwide distribution will instantly cause the show to become the most widely distributed daily live golf talk show in the world.
About Fairways of Life with Matt Adams
The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information, unforgettable interviews with the game’s legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game, travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’ passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and will keep you informed, entertained and engaged.
To learn more about the Fairways of Life show with Matt Adams please visit https://www.fairwaysoflife.com/ and stay connected through our various social media:
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
Facebook: Fairways of Life
About Matt Adams
Matt Adams, a Golf Channel personality, multiple-time New York Times best-selling author, and host of Fairways of Life with Matt Adams, has become one of the golf industry’s top voices, broadcaster and expert in golf business, equipment, and history. For over 30-years, Adams has worked in golf club operations, golf equipment and golf media. He is an expert in golf equipment technology spending years in the OEM side of the game, having designed and/or built golf clubs for the biggest names in the industry, including Nicklaus, MacGregor, Ram and Wilson. Adams has been called “the best interviewer in golf” by golfing legends including Billy Casper and Gary Player.
Adams broadcasting talents have been featured on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, BBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, PGA Tour Entertainment, European Tour Productions and DirecTV, among others. He has hosted broadcasts from every Major Championship and multiple Ryder Cups.
Media personality Lauren Thompson, currently host for Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” and NBC’s “The Champion Within,” will serve as master of ceremonies for various events at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The Golf Industry Show is presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Golf Industry Show, which includes the GCSAA Golf Championships, the GCSAA Education Conference and the industry trade show, offers a dynamic, progressive week of unparalleled networking opportunities and hands-on access to golf course and facility management solutions for golf industry professionals. GCSAA will also host marquee events to recognize its annual award winners.
Thompson will host the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, on Feb. 6, and the Closing Celebration, presented in partnership with John Deere, on Feb. 7. In addition, she will be on the trade show floor on Feb. 6 to honor winners of GCSAA’s Leo Feser Award and Edwin Budding Award.
“We are honored to have Lauren be a part of the Golf Industry Show,” Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO said. “Her knowledge of the game and the industry makes her the perfect host, and she has many fans among our attendees.”
A native of Orlando, Fla., and a graduate of the University of Central Florida, Thompson’s ten years on Golf Channel are part of a long career in television reporting, research and production. She is a self-confessed “golf nut.”
“It’s a game you can take up at any age, and enjoy for the rest of your life,” Thompson said. “The game grows with each new golfer, and I love promoting the game.”
More information about the Golf Industry Show is available at www.golfindustryshow.com.
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at GCMonline.com.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Matt Adams covers the game improvement technology featured in the brand new line of Tour Edge equipment
Following his fourth runner-up finish of the 2018 PGA Tour Champions season at the Sanford International, Tim Petrovic spent time with Golf Channel to provide tips to improve your bunker play.
“The Champion Within” features the powerful and inspiring stories of successful athletes who exemplify what it really means to be a champion. Hosted by Lauren Thompson of Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” “The Champion Within” introduces audiences to professional and amateur athletes who have overcome obstacles to ultimately achieve transcendent moments in the world of sports. “The Champion Within” proves that a champion is not only defined by their speed, strength and agility, but also by their grit, resilience and heart.
The award-winning program has been picked up for a Third Season on the NBC Network, as part of the “The More You Know” Saturday morning programming block.
Episodes can be viewed at https://www.nbc.com/the-champion-within
Matt Adams and Jaime Diaz discussed on Golf Channel’s Golf Central how they define whether or not Tiger Woods is “back” after his recent 2nd place finish at the PGA Championship and his 64 in the final round.
Lauren: You know, I’m a pretty open book. My life has taken its share of surprising twists and turns as far as a career path goes, but back in the day- high school or so- I was extremely studious and dead-set on being a Nurse. Early college days were spent in the library, sometimes 4 to 5 hours a night… then things changed a bit, my major included. I started socializing more (important in college!), joined a sorority (one that still placed heavy incentive on academics) and began modeling: the money was an easy motivator for a college kid. Then, I caught the “TV bug” with infomercials, car commercials, hosting roles and that was it: The adrenaline combined with the challenge had me hooked.
Adam: What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your development and success?
Lauren: Everyone faces setbacks… some more public than others. A few people have assumed that my career now vs. “the bikini days” are polar opposites, but I always found it quite empowering. It’s unfortunate that people try and use it as ammo against you, but I own it. True, after two kids it isn’t exactly my cup of tea anymore… but maybe it will give me some inspiration a few years down the road when gravity takes it’s toll. 😉
Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy success in media and broadcasting?
Lauren: Bob and weave, baby! You have to be able to roll with the punches. To take on new tasks. To be able to say “yes” and then put in some real work to hone your craft. That’s the definition of live TV in my mind. The show must go on, and to be confident in your abilities- and confident in your team- will save you over and over again. A positive attitude is what I believe has helped me the most… but that’s any job.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why?
Lauren: Hands-down, my mom. We lost my Dad to a brain tumor just 2 weeks before my 1st birthday. Although I don’t remember this time in my life for obvious reasons, I can’t forget the crazy strength she showed at every turn. She was a teacher. Tired. Over-worked and like most in her field, underpaid. She knew the proving grounds for women- then and now- and was never scared to show her teeth of need be. She demonstrated to me how much you have to work for things you want, and how nothing worthwhile will simply be handed to you. I pray my kids learn from me, as well.
Adam: What are the best lessons you have learned through your career that are applicable to those who will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera?
Lauren: Wow… I would say to never back down from a challenge. Life is far too short to play it safe. That’s boring. If your dreams are completely out of line with your daily life, you’re doing something wrong. And the best part is, you have the power to turn it around. So do it! And if you mess up.. guess what, no one’s perfect so take another stab at it. You’ll only find out what you’re capable of, and likely will surprise yourself.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Lauren: Don’t burn bridges. This happens left and right in the entertainment industry. People leaving other companies and opportunities for the bigger/ better piece of the pie, without realizing just how interconnected things are. Word gets around fast, both good and bad, and if you treat people with respect and are honest… you’ll rule the world.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Lauren: Honestly, I’ve become a world class napper because of Morning Drive! (laughs) .. No really, I can fall asleep on a dime. It’s a real skill. I think all parents have this in their tool kit… but as far as real “hobbies”… golf is an easy one. Not just because it’s what we live and breathe on Golf Channel, but because of what it offers to my family. Time outside, in the fresh air, where cell phone use is frowned upon, and real conversations can happen organically. That is my happy place.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Lauren: It’s pretty simple I think. It’s the easiest thing in the world really. Just treat others how you yourself would like to be treated. That’s it. No gray area. And smile at people. I used to be almost entertained by how random people respond when you smile at them. Now, I just see it as the best form of contagion.
Willy Wilcox is in his 10th year as a professional golfer. The Alabama resident is enjoying a successful season thus far on theTour, with two top-5 finishes that currently place him in one of the top 25 spots that earn a PGA Tour card for next season. The 31-year-old had status on the PGA Tour the past four seasons, with his best season coming in 2015—earning more than $1.1 million—and Wilcox’s career earnings are more than $3.2 million. He once shot 59 in a Tour event, but his most famous highlight was a hole-in-one on No. 17 at the 2016 Players Championship and his epic celebration. We caught up with Wilcox ahead of this week’s Players Championship.
How often are you reminded of your hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Players?
“Pretty regularly. It’s still surreal. And I definitely think it’s good I made that hole-in-one because nobody else was going to react like I did. A lot of guys, like Sergio’s reaction wasn’t great (laughs). I mean, they’re going to play it every year. But with me, it was just a flood of everything, so it was pretty sweet. And it really resonates with kids and people who would react the same way. Kids from all over the world have contacted me or come up to me and said, ‘If I made a hole-in-one, I would have reacted the same way.’ So that’s pretty cool.”
Is No. 17 really as uncomfortable and scary as everyone says it is?
“When you’re just playing with it buddies, it’s almost funny if you hit it into the water. But if you’re in tournament play, it’s not as funny. And I did hit it in the water the next round. That day the pin was up, the wind was pumping into out of the left so it was a 120 number and you’re hitting 8-iron, so that’s a lot different than flipping a pitching wedge. So that hole, when the wind is blowing is an absolute animal.”
How does your mind-set change playing on theTour vs. the PGA Tour?
“I look at it different from most players. If I’m paying my bills and playing golf, then I’m in good shape. So I’m more motivated now than I was on the PGA Tour last year just because I found my game again, I’m not losing a few balls every round. Last year was such a tough year. I was so unmotivated because I was playing so bad — I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. Because that’s a hard spot to be in because everybody’s so good and I just developed some bad habits, that six months into the season, there’s not much you can do, so you’re kind of screwed. So this year now that I’m playing well, I go into every week, it feels like the Masters.”
What did you learn from your buddy Ryan Armour recently winning his first PGA Tour title?
“He broke through at 43, which is awesome. Basically, it took him awhile to get a perfect set up. I just believe stronger in dialing in equipment after seeing what he did. It took him awhile, but now that he’s got it figured out, he’s got about 20 extra yards in the air. He’s hitting his 7-iron 180 where as before he was like a 166 7-iron. So the more technology, the more ability to tinker comes out, not necessarily with heads and shafts, but just learning how to dial in equipment with lofts, lies, grinds, weighting. Before I just grabbed a club and started playing, but now I’m looking around and seeing how dialed in everyone is so now I’m going to TrueSpec and I’m trying to stay on top of my equipment better. All these other guys have that advantage, so I might at least do it as well.”
You’re a huge Tiger Woods fan as evidenced by your Twitter feed. Have you had any brushes with him?
“Nothing good (laughs). Honestly, I had a little thing with him at Medalist a few years ago where I was taking a video of him on the range and he was pretty offended. So yeah, that didn’t work out pretty good. I think he might know who I am, and I don’t think he’s a big fan. So that’s kind of depressing, but I’ll continue to love him.”
After finishing sixth on his European Challenge Tour debut in the Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open earlier this month, Charlie Saxon is targeting another top-ten finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The American will tee it up at Gloria Golf Club this week after receiving an invitation from Challenge Tour Director Alain De Soultrait and is aiming to build on his solid showing in China.
Born in Oklahoma in the United States, Saxon has previously plied his trade on various tours including PGA Tour Latinoamérica, the China Tour and the Web.com Tour, enjoying relative success.
The 24 year old already has two wins under his belt this season, both of which occurred on the China Tour.
A final round 66 clinched a one-shot victory at the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic as Saxon triumphed in his first tournament of the year.
Saxon then claimed another superb win at the China Tour’s second event of the year, the Bo Ao Open, by shooting four sublime rounds of 65-69-64-67 to extend his lead at the top of the tour’s Order of Merit.
Although he believes putting himself under too much pressure could have an adverse effect on his game, Saxon has his sights set on another high finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
“Obviously I would love to finish in the top ten in order to get into the Challenge de España,” the American said.
“That would be my goal for the week but I don’t think you can put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ll come out here and play as well as I can but at the end of the day, putting extra pressure on yourself really isn’t going to help.”
Saxon has expressed his gratitude to the Challenge Tour for the invitation to play in Antalya this week and is feeling confident in his own game.
“I’m thankful to the sponsors and to Alain De Soultrait and it’s another opportunity to hopefully earn more money on this tour and potentially get through the re-rank,” he said.
“The course looks wonderful and the hotel we’re staying at is great. Everybody’s been really friendly so it should be a really good week.
“I’m confident in my game and I’m confident in my ability. At the end of the day, golf’s a game against the course and on this tour there’s certainly more players of a higher calibre than on some of the other tours I’m used to playing.
“Good golf’s good golf and I know if I’m playing good golf then I can compete and contend.
“I obviously recognise how difficult it is out here on the Challenge Tour. These are some of the best players in the world and I’m happy to be out here playing and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Many professional golfers are extremely superstitious.
For Brandon Matthews, a 2016 adult and organizational development alumnus [of Temple University] and current player on the Web.com Tour, superstition starts with the quarter he uses as a ball-marker.
“I will never use a quarter that is above the year 1969,” Matthews said. “If I have a 1974 quarter, to me that is like shooting 74.”
Matthews moved from 103rd on the Web.com Tour to 74th after he tied for 10th at the North Mississippi Classic last weekend. He hopes to finish the season within the top-25 money winners to earn his PGA Tour card.
Matthews’s girlfriend Danielle Maslany gave him a special quarter for Christmas this year.
“When we get change, we look at the date of all the quarters,” said Maslany, a 2013 journalism alumna who met Matthews through an interview she conducted for OwlSports Update. “I went online and found a 1959 quarter and bought it for him. I don’t think we will ever be lucky enough to find one in circulation, so I thought it would be cool to get him one to use.”
Maslany has seen several of Matthews’s most successful finishes. At Temple, Matthews won eight times as an individual. Just five months into his debut on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, Matthews won at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in Argentina in March 2017.
He became the youngest American to win a PGA Tour Latinoamérica event.
“Winning so early took a lot of stress off of me,” Matthews said. “Throughout my career as an amateur, I always tried to be the best that I can be. Going out and winning was really nice but something that I expected as a competitor.”
Matthews ranked 10th on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica’s Order of Merit in October 2017, which allowed him to make it to the final stage of tour-qualifying school. His high finish at q-school qualified him for the first eight starts of the Web.com Tour.
Matthews only competed in five of those eight possible starts because of food poisoning and a back injury. He has had back problems since high school and regularly sees a chiropractor.
“It’s a learning process,” Maslany said. “He is identifying how to better care for his body, and we make changes to incorporate that into our life.”
Matthews said he stretches for an average of 30 to 45 minutes each morning while also watching what he eats and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“It is an annoying thing because I have to do things 55-year-olds have to do in the morning as far as stretching goes,” Matthews said. “I shouldn’t have to do this at 23 years old.”
Despite back issues, Matthews’s average drive this season goes 313.3 yards, which ranks fourth out of more than 150 players on the Web.com Tour. He also has a 4.16 birdie average, which is 14th-best on the tour.
Matthews said he relies heavily on his caddy, Jon “Sunshine” Lehman, for direction, especially when it comes to putting.
During the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, in July, Lehman was on the bag for Armando Favela, who had a rib injury. Matthews qualified for the tournament through a sponsors exemption, a spot offered to a player by the tournament’s title sponsor when the player has not already qualified for the event. Matthews asked Lehman to be his caddy, and they have been together ever since.
“Brandon calls me in on nine out of 10 putts,” Lehman said. “He wants that opinion, and I love that because it makes me feel more involved.”
“Brandon is really good at driving the golf ball and is a superior ball striker,” Lehman added. “I have been with a lot of guys, and I have never seen anyone hit it as good as he does.”
Matthews has finished tied for 41st, tied for 56th, tied for 34th and tied for 10th in the four tournaments he made the cut for so far this year, resulting in a season’s earnings of $19,329.
Both Maslany and Lehman believe Matthews will make it to the next level. It is just a matter of when.
“I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but within the next year he will be on the big tour,” Lehman said. “He just has that kind of firepower and next-generation game that can kind of take over.”
“Realistically, it takes one really good week and one solid week to make it,” Matthews said. “I have 20 more tournaments left, and I think it is a reasonable possibility that I get there. It is all about fine-tuning my game and just putting it all together.”
Matt Adams is hosting The Skill Code on Golf Channel on Monday January 29 at 7pm ET with Cameron McCormick, the 2015 PGA Teacher of the year and coach to 3-time major champion Jordan Spieth. Cameron will unlocks the secrets to building championship golf skills. The Skill Code will each Monday nights at 7PM est on Golf Channel.
In this 12-part series McCormick will attempt to correct the misconceptions and mistakes that for nearly a century have been occurring in the golf instruction industry. Cameron McCormick believes the golfer needs to expand his/her basic understanding of why the ball reacts a certain way to his/her swing and once this is understood and processed, the golfer should be able to move in a positive direction to improve his/her golf game.
*Series available for purchase since November 2017 via Revolution Golf
Airtimes on Golf Channel:
Every Monday at 7pm ET, premiering January 29
GREAT ABACO, Bahamas – Will Wilcox has made 149 starts across the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour, in addition to countless other amateur, college and mini-tour events.
Wilcox considers last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay — playing on a sponsor invite and knowing he needed a top-25 finish to keep his season going — as one of the most stressful weeks of his golf career.
Will Wilcox found himself tied atop the leaderboard at 6-under-par at The Great Abaco Classic after feeling intense pressure at the Great Exuma Classic. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
“My hands were shaking when I first teed off last week,” said Wilcox, who entered the season with only past champion status. “It was a lot of pressure … just a do-or-die moment. I’ve had a few in my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to get it done.”
Indeed, Wilcox rose up with a T13 finish to extend his season to this week’s The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. Most importantly, the finish will ensure him a strong position in the reshuffle that takes place after next month’s Club Colombia Championship.
Wilcox teed off at 6:55 a.m. Sunday in the opening round at The Abaco Club, and the peaceful setting matched his demeanor. Knowing that his season isn’t on the line this week, like it was in Exuma, the Alabama native produced a 6-under 66 to hold a share of the opening-round lead, with play suspended due to darkness.
The 31-year-old struggled to find success for the majority of 2017; he struggled to find a comfort level on the greens, and he missed all four cuts in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Wilcox discovered an alignment problem during the offseason, though. With the help of a mirror and some alignment tools, as well as Golf Channel’s Martin Hall, he got ‘going in the right direction.’
“I’ve always been lucky enough … to make putts just doing whatever felt right,” Wilcox said. “Basically what happened is I went too far in one direction. I kept opening my stance, opening my stance, and then the clubhead was aimed incorrectly.
“So you’ve got two competing factors, and then you have no idea where the putter face is with the ball. Fortunately, it was something that simple, but it took 30 days to where it felt normal. Now, it feels great.”
The three-month break between the Web.com Tour Championship and the season opener allowed Wilcox to ‘really grind on my putting’ – he figures he averaged two or three three-putts per round in 2017, and he knew that needed to change if he wanted to see better results this season.
So far, so good. Markedly improved putting, coupled with a swing tweak made about a month ago, give Wilcox reason to believe that better days are ahead.
“I knew that what I was working on was good, and you can feel it in your hands and the way the ball was coming out, and increased distance when you start hitting it better.” Wilcox said. “And the putting was just getting better and better and better throughout the offseason.
“On the first tee today, I was totally relaxed, other than it being pretty dark out. Now that last week is over with, I’m really feeling alright.”
THE POWER OF THREE
PRO GOLFER AND FINANCIAL TITAN TO SUPPORT OHIO NON PROFIT
Cleveland, Ohio, January 12, 2018 – Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial and OhioGuidestone, a nonprofit that serves over 36-thousand families, announce a partnership with professional golfer and Ohio native, Justin Lower.
The collaboration offers various components such as raising funds to help children and families served by OhioGuidestone and public awareness of the excellent work of both OhioGuidestone and Modern Woodmen, Fraternal Financial.
Specifically, Modern Woodmen plans to donate $100 per birdie Justin Lower makes on the 2018 Web.com Tour to OhioGuidestone. In addition, Lower plans to sport both organization logos on his apparel during the Web.com Tour. For Lower, the partnership is part of his journey.
“I had the opportunity to visit some of the youth served by OhioGuidestone,” said Lower. “I was so impressed with the work OhioGuidestone is doing to help break the cycle of poverty for Ohio children and families, I knew I wanted to find a way to be involved and help out. It really put things in perspective for me, of just how fortunate I am to chase my dream as a professional golfer.”
Justin Lower, professional golfer
Since 1883, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial, a financial planning giant, has brought people together and supported communities. They are the nation’s third -largest fraternal benefit society in terms of assets. This new partnership builds upon its current relationship with OhioGuidestone,
“Supporting OhioGuidestone’s children and families has been an honor and a privilege for our fraternal members. Our joint passion to strengthen families and communities continues to grow through our partnership, and we are delighted to give back in this new and innovative initiative.” – Brian Souder, Managing Partner, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial.
OhioGuidestone is a 154-year-old non-profit organization that helps families, children and individuals who face some of life’s most challenging situations, including mental illness, addiction, abuse and behavioral issues. Headquartered in Berea, Ohio, we have grown to serve over 36,000 children and families in Ohio.
“We are honored to have this national platform to showcase the great work we accomplish in Ohio and grateful for the generosity of Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial. We give Justin all of our heartfelt support as he golfs for our kids.” – Cindy Naegele, Vice President of Advancement and Communications for OhioGuidestone
Justin Lower is a native of Canal Fulton, Ohio and a graduate of Malone University where he was crowned National Champion, and was recognized with the Jack Nicklaus and David Toms Award as one of the top college collegiate golfers in the country. In 2018, Justin will play full-time on the Web.com Tour. PGA Tour stars such as Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Jason Day and many more once competed on the Web.com Tour on their path to the PGA Tour.